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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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population sphere are heavily concentrated in category 4 (poll type surveys of the general population) and rarest of all in category 2 (public interviews with the general population). Therefore, this paper will deal only with categories 1, 3, and 4 insofar as they relate to opinions on population size and growth on the one hand and to opinions on birth control and family planning on the other.
THE PRIVATE OPINION OF GENERAL POPULATIONS
Family planning proponents often utilize the results of "KAP" surveys (Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Family Planning) to demonstrate public demand for family planning. As measures of national public opinion, especially for purposes of international comparisons, such surveys have a number of limitations:
1.  The surveys are usually confined to women in the reproductive age groups and often to women living in relatively stable marital unions. Thus, the opinions of males, older women, and single women are not represented or are underrepresented.
2.  Each survey is customarily designed ad hoc so that question wording and sequence of questions are rarely the same from survey to survey.
3.  Comparisons between surveys conducted 10 to 15 years apart are often made without regard to time, although there may have been significant shifts of public opinion on population questions over the past decade.
An unusual body of relevant international poll data that is not subject to these limitations has recently been made available. In 1965, the United States Information Agency (USIA) sponsored four questions on population in surveys conducted in twenty-two countries (1,2). Respondents were not told the sponsorship of the population questions. Local commercial survey organizations and local interviewers were contracted to gather over 17,000 interviews with samples representative of the adult male and female "general population" within each of the places or categories specified in Table 1. (That all the Latin American samples are drawn only from the principal city of the nation and that all the European samples are national must, of course, be borne in mind when one makes cross-national comparisons.)
Perception of National Population Growth
The first question involved the respondents' perception of national population growth:
Is it your impression that the number of people in [survey country] is increasing, decreasing, or remaining about the same?
In only five countries do more than 10 percent of the respondents fail to answer this question, and three of these nations are European (West Ger-